Well that seemed a long day for sure. The first pick ups were made at 4.00am outside the Kings Head in Eastington. Moving onto Frocester we were held up for a few minutes as someone, who shall remain nameless returned home to collect the passport they had forgotten! The other pick ups were straightforward. So we left Stroud a little behind schedule but nothing drastic. The majority eventually entering their allocated rooms at 5.00 – 5.30 local time, which would have been 9.30pm back home. So there we all were tired and emotional some 13 – 14 hours later.
The drive down to Gatwick was a rather mundane affair apart from my several glances over towards the driver who was fidgeting in his seat a lot indicating to me at least that he was uncomfortable and/or tired. No cause for alarm however as we were successfully dropped of outside the South Terminal. The bags were unloaded and we all managed to enter the building just before the rain started.
We had our own check in desk with our name emblazoned in lights for all to see. Fairly quick process in fairness, despite the conveyer belts not working to take away the luggage. They had to be placed in cages by some burly fellows for despatch to the loading areas. Were we to ever see these bags again, fears of our skimpy bikinis, make up bags and the likes (it must be said some of the women were also concerned) being despatched to other points around the globe were dismissed when we collected them successfully at the other end without issue.
We entered the duty free area, some went off shopping, others had a breakfast while some were spotted enjoying a cold Guiness or lager.
For some unknown reason the flight was a good 30 minutes late taking off but we knew that time would be easily made up and so indeed it was over the 8 1/2 journey time. During which we were treated to all manner of food and drink whilst watching a film, playing games, listening to music or simply nodding off. Di’s birthday was recognised with a glass of Champagne and a slice of cake.
As soon as you exit the plane the heat hits you like walking into a wall. Waiting in the queue for immigration control was spend frantically filling in a form that they had run out of on the plane. The normally slow process was pleasingly quick for a change. Not the same can be said about the baggage retrieval however. It was quite hypnotic watching the same cases going around and around the carousel whilst waiting our bags to arrive.
Finally we exited the terminal to then wait again for everyone to gather before the bags were put onto the back of a large van as we stepped onto the transfer bus. During this time it was apparent how warm it was as the men started to sweat and the ladies perspired.
Check in was carried out in typical Bajan style, seemingly unorthodox and in an unhurried laid back manner. Despite so many waiting in reception for what seemed an eternity, things just fell into place and people scuttled off to their rooms. Well those that weren’t already at the bar that is. Although reports were coming in that some couples were in seperate rooms? I am assuming that was all rectified and they are now sharing with their correct partners. A computer error was blamed as is the norm these days. Surely it was a human error by typing the incorrect information in the first place. Oh well, alls well that ends well.
Early evening and it was not long before larger groups were forming in the bar area, the noise levels increased and the beer ran out on one ocassion such was the desire to quench the thirst of a lot of tired travelers. Fear not the stocks were quite quickly replenished with bottles of Banks Beer and cans of Red Stripe. Quite a few decided to have dinner and returned later to sample the local rum.
Not a lot to mention untoward, one senior tourist discovered they had left their watch, glasses and hearing aid at home. That person will not be named as will no others during this and forthcoming blogs.
Well a day of traveling is now over, we can all retire and see what our first full day brings very soon.